Properties of Organic Compounds

Organic compounds are those who chemical formula contains at least one carbon atom, and often contain a hydrogen atom as well. The bonds formed between the carbon and hydrogen atoms to form a hydrocarbon are very strong, and the resulting compound is often essential to living things.

Organic Compounds Properties

1. It is difficult to isolate the properties of organic compounds, as the only requirement is a carbon atom. It is important to note that there are a few inorganic compounds that still contain carbon, although the bond is very weak; this lack of unity in defining and classifying organic compounds is at the heart of the problem when it comes to describing their properties.

2. Therefore, the term "organic compounds" really applies to molecules that contain a "significant" number of carbon atoms, which is still not an exact and measurable number.

3. Some researchers feel that organic compounds must contain carbon-to-carbon bonds or carbon-to-hydrogen bonds in order to qualify.

4. The theory of vitalism applies to the properties of organic compounds, which states that there is a life force present in organic compounds that are essential to living things, and this force is not present in non-living (and therefore, inorganic) things.

5. The properties of organic compounds are so varied that they have been further categorized into different classes.

6. The hydrocarbons, for example, contain the alkanes and the alkenes, and have a high propensity for burning; for this reason, most of our known fuel sources are hydrocarbons.

7. Organic compounds contain what is called functional groups, a structural unit made up of groups of atoms in a molecule that are bonded to the rest of the molecule by a covalent bond; this bond forms between the functional group and a carbon atom from the main body of the molecule.

8. These functional groups are found in all organic compounds, and help create the chemical properties of the molecule.

9. Size is another property of organic compounds that offers great variation from one compound to the next.

10. Organic compounds-specifically ones that are important to different fields of biology-often contain long chains of carbon atoms which can loop around each other; different atoms can form bonds with these carbons, creating variation in the molecule and its functional groups.

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